Greater Winston-Salem, Inc is announcing a new startup investment fund to drive growth and innovation in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County’s already robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Winston-Salem Pledge Roundtable (WSPR) Fund will invest seed-stage capital in Winston-Salem-based startups that are scaling and, although not required, have a focus in industry sectors in which Winston-Salem has expertise (Healthcare, Technology, Data Analytics, Aviation, Virtual Reality, and more). Non-Winston-Salem based startups are eligible but must commit to relocating to Winston-Salem.
Technology and high-growth entrepreneurship is a strategic industry sector for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County’s long-term economic development. The local entrepreneurial ecosystem is supported by 30+ local organizations and has fostered the growth of dozens of startups that have already attracted more than $25 million in capital investments, according to the accelerator Winston Starts. The WSPR fund is designed to offer a complementary option within the local ecosystem that will further attract and support startup development.
“Winston-Salem has been identified nationally as one of the best cities to start and grow a business. We are home to one of the world’s leading innovation districts and have built a network of entrepreneurial resources that support startups along the entire continuum of growth. Startups create jobs, attract talent, and invest in the local community. We believe this investment fund can help to plant the seeds that will help the next big ideas grow, right here in Winston-Salem,” says Mark Owens, President and CEO of Greater Winston-Salem, Inc.
WSPR will operate as a pledge fund, a type of investment vehicle in which the members make a non-binding pledge to contribute capital to a series of investments. Unlike a blind pool, contributors to a pledge fund reserve the right to review each investment prior to contributing. Members are not required to invest the amount of capital that they have pledged, but they must meet a minimum investment over a three-year term.
In order to facilitate access to the fund, members under the age of 40 have a $30,000 minimum while investors 40 and older have a $60,000 minimum over the three-year term. Investors can choose to participate again at the end of the three-year term. Membership in the fund is contingent upon meeting the accreditation requirements set forth by the Securities Act of 1933.
Individuals interested in applying to join the fund or startups seeking an investment can email Clay Johnson, Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives. The fund will accept new members through June 30, 2021.